Creativity? What does that have to do with health? Well, actually plenty! Did you know that the link between creativity and better mental and physical health has been well established by research? Creating can help make you happier, less anxious, more resilient and better equipped to problem-solve in the face of even difficult circumstances. But, on the whole, it can just plain make your life more of an amazing adventure. Just ask my friend, Debra Rapoport. She creates beautiful wearables out of materials that you would never imagine, like making hats out of paper towels! How about arm cuffs made out of the cardboard from toilet tissue rolls? She is also a master at thrifting and puts together outfits that are show stopping (you’ll see in the pictures further down in the post). Debra is one of the ladies featured in the documentary, Advanced Style. If you haven’t seen it, you simply must, it will lift you up! It’s on Netflix and Amazon Instant Video as well. Anyway, when I was thinking of what to share in this post, I naturally thought of Debra because, in my view, she is a fabulous example of how using creativity can enrich not only your health, but your entire life. Here’s some pearls of wisdom that she graciously shared with me in a recent conversation and that I am paraphrasing here:
On getting in touch with your creative side:
At an early age we all knew and naturally moved to the things that gave us joy. Try to remember what you liked to do back then. Maybe you liked to paint or liked baking. Experiment. Just start doing something you thing you might enjoy. Above all, don’t judge yourself. Stay open, play and enjoy the process. With creativity, forget about making art, there are no rules. “Where there are no rules there are no fears.”
On how creativity can affect the world around you:
Being creative has given me the courage to be who I am. My mother and grandma supported me here in helping me to become comfortable just being myself. When you are truly comfortable with yourself it shows in the things you do. I like to bless others with my nutritious cooking and mentoring via the personal and wearable art that I create. Here I like to impact others with inspiration to create their own “personal” art. This can be anything! Whether it’s gardening, cooking, or whatever, it’s all art! This leads to acts of kindness because truly being yourself, in turn, helps you give back to others. To me, it’s the natural flow of things. I often get stopped on the street by people who recognize me from Advanced Style and I am so thrilled to meet them and share my art with them, since I literally wear it on my back!
On how expressing your creativity makes you feel amazing:
It makes me weepy because it touches me so deeply when I touch other lives. It feels so seamless and effortless. I find I have no need to go to consumerism for happiness because I am fulfilled in myself. I’ve found that I can live on a lot less. Frugality is fun because you can search and make your own lifestyle through repurposing found things. There’s no need to spend a fortune and thrifting is fun and supports a good cause.
On how creativity has a positive effect on health:
There is an elegance to my life. It is easeful. Love and the support of the friends I have made through my creative endeavors…these are the things that help feed your immune system, flood you with endorphins. I find that wisdom that helps people is better shared between personal encounters and can be better than when shared via something as impersonal as the internet. However, Facebook has helped me connect with some amazing people.
Great words to live by, I think. Can you see why Debra is one of my very favorite people? I have yet to meet her in person (yes, I’m a Facebook friend), but she has impacted my life for the better. She has inspired me to stretch my creative muscle more. What about you? What will you create that will help boost your health and impact the world around you as well? To your good health!